As the semester draws to a close, the National Forum has just published a timely briefing paper which shares insights from members of the higher education community as they reflect on what they have learned through the move to online/remote teaching and learning in recent months. The gathering of these insights was rapid and light-touch; its strength lay in the established National Forum communication channels with teaching and learning experts, technologists and other institutional representatives. These people are privy to the experiences and challenges of the wider staff and student communities and were asked to reflect on these in considering insights to share. The resulting briefing paper, entitled ‘Reflecting and Learning: The move to remote/online teaching and learning in Irish higher education’, examines what the insights mean for the enhancement of teaching and learning in the near and longer-term future. The briefing paper can be accessed here.
As we publish this briefing paper, the National Forum has been looking back on all that was achieved since mid-March and how the higher education community collaborated to ensure student learning continued to be supported through such extraordinary events.
As Ireland’s national body responsible for leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education, the National Forum developed various resources, in partnership will relevant experts, to support those who learn, teach and lead as they moved teaching and learning online and selected suitable alternative assessment methods. To date, these resources have garnered over 11,500 views via the National Forum website, here.
The National Forum also informed high-level international and national policy responses through input to key documents and participation in strategic planning groups:
- At international level, the National Forum provided input into the EU’s Draft Council Conclusions on Countering the COVID-19 Crisis in Education and Training in April and was invited to share Ireland’s response to the crisis at the EC/OECD 2020 HEInnovate webinar on 18 June focused on policy approaches to digital transformation and institutional responses.
- At national level, the National Forum is represented on a number of national working groups convened to ensure appropriate, aligned responses to various aspects of the new educational context: the Medium-Term Contingency Planning Group (National Forum represented by its Chair), the Quality Integrity and Reputation Group (National Forum represented by its Director) and the Mitigating Education Disadvantage Group (National Forum represented by its Director).
This evidence from the experience of the national shift to online/remote teaching and learning can now be combined with the research evidence detailed in the recent report of Ireland’s National Digital Experience (INDEx) Survey, published here, as we articulate a new national vision for digital teaching and learning, ensuring robust digital infrastructures, policies and pedagogical approaches for the future.